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Owners of building where Bisbee fire started agree to pay back about $160,000 to the city

The Main St. fire occurred on February 14
Bisbee Oil and Vinegar
Posted at 9:48 PM, Jun 26, 2024

BISBEE, Ariz. (KGUN) — The owners of the building located at 30 Main Street in Bisbee have reached a settlement with the City of Bisbee as a result of the structure fire on February 14.

The Main Street fire started late on Valentine’s Day and led to the burning of historical buildings on one of Bisbee’s most popular streets for tourists to visit.

No one was hurt, but the street did close, impacting the local businesses. Now, four months later, part of the street is still closed.

The fire started in the building with the store, “Bisbee Oil and Vinegar.” Building owners, Craig Reece and Anne Bush now have to pay the city back $163,790.22 which was spent on emergency measures related to the property.

The agenda from the city’s special meeting held on Monday, June 24 to agree on the settlement states the building owners did not have property damage insurance or the funds needed to clean up the property.

As part of the settlement, Reece and Bush will pay the city $500 a month beginning on August 1. Payments will be made until the balance is paid off. Ownership of the building will also be transferred to the City of Bisbee. The owners have a second property in Bisbee which can be held as collateral.

"We have the guarantee of the property on the other side. Will not probably pay for the whole thing, but would help to alleviate some of the money that is still owed to the public."

Bisbee Mayor Ken Budge expects clean up expenses to be an additional $200,000. The city will be getting bids for the project.

A press release from the City of Bisbee on June 29 states,
"A key focus for the City is the cleanup and remediation of the fire damage at 28 Main St. and 30 Main St. as the fire debris has been determined to contain asbestos material and requires special environmental remediation efforts."

On Wednesday, June 26 Budge received news that the city will not have to pay for all of the clean up of 30 Main St. out of their budget.

Budge said, “I just found out today that we're going to get a $150,000 grant to pay for that."

As for what’s next for the building? Budge wants the community’s input.

"We can try and sell it and recapture more of the money, we can keep it and do something different with it,” Budge said. Some ideas he has heard so far are a visitor’s center and an indoor park.

We reached out to the owners of the building, but they did not want to comment.